Not Quite Ready for the Gym? No Worries!

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

5 Rounds For Time (15:00 cap):

  • 7 Couch Push Ups

  • 7 Sit to Stand Squats

  • 100 (steps) Farmer Carry (RPE 7 out of 10)

Hold your horses! Let’s talk about this first. Trust me. It’s well worth your time.

Starting a fitness routine as a beginner can be a daunting experience for sure, let alone stepping into a gym facility with obscure equipment as far as the eye can see.

If you are starting a weight loss journey, it is important to understand that your overall success will not be found at the gym. However, by partnering a sound nutrition plan with consistent physical effort, you will be well on your way to realizing your goals.

Don’t let physical activity be the obstacle to achieving success. Getting an effective workout can be much easier than you might think, and you don’t have to wade through rows of machines and cables to get started.

Let’s put this into perspective. We move around all day long. It’s a human requirement in order to navigate through our busy lives. In the fitness world, the term functional exercise is all the rage. Guess what? Chances are, you are already familiar with functional training, but just don’t quite realize it yet.

How many times a day do you sit and stand (chair at work, in and out of the car, the toilet, etc). What about bending over to pick things up? And pressing (placing objects in cabinets and shelves, pushing carts, etc). And finally, carrying things (groceries, boxes of files, suitcases, on and on…). This is Functional Fitness in a nutshell.

All we need to do is harness these everyday activities into elegant, meaningful workouts that tax our skeletal muscle system and increase our heart rate a bit. And the best part? You can do this at home, at the park, at work, and even more fun, with some friends.

There are hundreds of ways to creatively combine Functional Movements into efficient and fun workouts at home. The key to generating the most effective intensity in a short amount of time is to turn your workouts into Time / Task Activities. It is also important to realize that EVERYTHING can be Scaled and Modified in order to meet your current level of fitness. Focus on Moving and Working within YOUR capability.

Let’s go over some foundational concepts first.

Priority: Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity

  • Focus on controlled movement with proper body alignment, and work within ranges of motion that you can accomplish without compromising mechanics.

  • Be consistent in practicing great movement and only progress when you with mastery. However, don’t be complacent. Venture out with new movements and ranges of motion by PRACTICING until you are comfortable with applying them to workouts.

  • Only apply Intensity (decreased time, increased load, increased reps or volume) to the movements that you are really good at. This is called PERFORMANCE, and takes form in your quick, elegant workouts.

Practice versus Performance:

  • Practice is the cornerstone to progression, confidence, and increased fitness. The majority of any given workout routine should consist of practice: Warm Up, Mobility, Skill Work, Specific Strength Work, and even your Cool Down. Although the focus of any movement pattern should be on great mechanics, your practice components should be less intense and done with limited volume, with utmost attention to mechanics. For example, focusing on proper body alignment during Mobility and Cool Down, will directly transfer to your performance workout. So don’t be sloppy. Ever!

  • Performance is like a music recital. Would you ever show up to a piano recital and say, “I think I’m gonna try something new tonight.” No. You are going to perform a piece that you’ve practiced for hours, days, and months. And guess what? You are gonna rock it with vibrant intensity, and feel great about it. And, it’s going to make you a much better musician. Apply this concept to your workouts every time, and you will progress in leaps and bounds.


  • Intensity is the secret sauce for getting fitter by exercising. Anything less is sadly a waste of your time. Here is the really cool part…. Intensity is relative to your current level of fitness. No worries right? As long as you stick to the movements and range of motion that you are great at, the hard work will be exhilarating and injury won’t ever be a factor. Proper intensity means way shorter workouts - accomplishing more with less!

Here are some ways to manage intensity:

  • Load (weight): for most people, their body weight is more than sufficient. Just take a look at gymnasts! We can even “unload” our body weight by elevating and/or supporting ourselves as we move.

  • Distance / Volume / Reps: Once again, this is completely relevant to our current level of fitness. Just understand that More is More Intensity. Don’t be afraid to push your limits, but know your limit as well.

  • Time: Less is More. Walking or Running a half mile in 15 minutes is harder than doing it in 30 minutes right. So move as quickly as possible while consistently maintaining great mechanics.

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE):

RPE is a great way to measure and apply intensity at your current level of fitness. On a scale from 1 - 10 (1 is easiest, and 10 is hardest), use RPE to help guide your intensity during the different components of your workout. A great coach / trainer will provide clear guidance in your programming. The neat thing about RPE is that is changes as you get fitter, and sometimes it may differ based on how you simply feel on any given day.

RPE movement intensity examples:

  • Practice (warm up, skill, mobility, cool down): 1-5

  • Performance (short session; workout) 8-10

  • Active Recovery (long session) 1-7

  • Strength (loading) 7-10

  • Conditioning (loading) 5-8

Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Here is a 40-minute session begging for your attention! Enjoy!

Remember that you can Scale this Up or Down based on your level of fitness. Experiment, Enjoy the Process, but Don’t Wait anymore!

Warm Up / Activation:

3 Rounds (15:00)

Note: if you are brand new to working out, keep your overall intensity level at an RPE of 6-7 today. Stop at 15:00 regardless of how far you get and simply record how many reps you completed. Each round is worth 114 reps. If you decide to do this workout again in 2-3 months, your progress will be noted.

Workout (conditioning):

5 Rounds For Time (15:00 cap):

  • 7 Couch Push Ups

  • 7 Sit to Stand Squats

  • 100 (steps) Farmer Carry (load; RPE 7)

Cool Down:

Couch Push Up

Sit to Stand (Squat)

Farmer Carry

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